The Acute Stroke Interventional Program is an emergency treatment involving catheter delivered medication and devices.

The only FDA-approved treatment for stroke is a clot-busting medication, t-PA, delivered by intravenous, IV. However, regional stroke programs such as the Stroke Center at Hartford Hospital also have recently begun to offer catheter-based, or intra-arterial (IA), treatments for patients with acute ischemic stroke. In the past 12 months, the Stroke Center has treated about 25 patients via the IA route, often with outstanding results.

“This modality allows us to target the precise blood vessel blockage responsible for a patient’s stroke, much as cardiologists do in the heart,” says Dr. Isaac Silverman, MD, neurologist and co-medical director of The Stroke Center.

“Advantages over IV t-PA are that the catheter or another device can mechanically disrupt and fragment the clot and delivers doses of t-PA to the clot which are much lower, presumably lowering the risk for life-threatening bleeding in the brain. Most importantly, the longer time window for IA therapy enables us to treat more of our patients.”

While nationally only about 1-2% of all stroke patients receive IV t-PA, the Stroke Center at Hartford Hospital is treating 15% of patients arriving to its emergency department within 6 hours with either IV and/or IA agents.